9 warning signs you may be headed for divorce

Every marriage goes through ups and downs. But how can you tell if the rough patch is temporary, or if it might be leading to something more serious?

As Southampton’s leading family law solicitors, we’ve worked with many couples navigating divorce and have heard countless reasons for separation. Below, we break down the nine most common signs we’ve observed over the years.

1. Lack of communication

You used to talk for hours on end, but now dinners are quiet and conversations feel forced, if they happen at all. A lack of communication can make living with your partner feel like living with a roommate, stuck in the same house but on separate planets. This silence can make even the strongest relationship feel like a prison sentence, and ultimately make divorce much more likely.

2. One-sided efforts

Relationships need work from both sides. If one person is fighting to save the marriage while the other is checked out, it’s only a matter of time before the subject of divorce is brought up and followed through on.

3. Future aspirations change

Life isn’t always straightforward, and you and your partner can end up going in completely different directions. Maybe one of you longs for children and the other is childfree, or one dreams of living abroad while the other can’t imagine leaving their hometown. These conflicting desires can put a major strain on a relationship.

4. Financial issues

Finances are a cornerstone of marriage. When one partner hides financial burdens or indulges in reckless spending (e.g. gambling, shopping sprees), it creates instability and distrust. Joint accounts become risky, especially if addictions lurk beneath the surface, and the partner affected may request a divorce to escape the situation.

5. Walking on eggshells

Living in fear is no way to live, but sadly, feeling on edge around a partner isn’t rare. Maybe they have a hair-trigger temper, or there’s even a history of domestic violence. Divorce can be the only escape route in these situations.

6. Broken trust

A deal breaker between the parties has been breached. This often involves one party having an affair which the other cannot forgive, or a long-term addiction, such as to drugs or alcohol, that indefinitely impacts the couple’s lives.

7. Negativity

Contempt, expressed through sarcasm, put-downs, and cold body language, is a relationship killer. It erodes respect and creates a toxic environment, which is especially detrimental if children are in the household. Divorce can be the best way to escape this negativity.

8. Gaslighting

A manipulative partner will downplay the other’s feelings or emotions, constantly questioning their memories or even insisting certain events never happened. This is called gaslighting, and it’s a way for someone to gain control in a relationship. It can make the affected partner feel crazy and question their own sanity. Breaking free from this cycle is difficult because it takes time for someone to realise they’re being manipulated. In some cases, divorce might be the only way to escape the pattern.

9. Serial infidelity

When a partner cheats over and over, it shows they don’t care about how much it hurts their partner. The couple may break up, get back together, break up again, and the cycle continues. It’s an emotional roller coaster that leaves the affected partner drained. Eventually, the pain gets so bad that divorce feels like the only way out.

Considering divorce? Sousa law’s family lawyers can help

Going through a divorce can be overwhelming. If you’re facing challenges like those mentioned above, or simply considering separation, Sousa Law’s family law specialists are here to help.

We offer confidential, compassionate support and clear information about the entire divorce process. Our expertise covers all aspects of divorce, including domestic abuse, business asset division, and child arrangements. We always put you first and won’t rest until we help you find a solution that works for your family.

If you’re ready to take the first step, book a free initial consultation online or call us on 02380 713060 today.


This article was originally written in February 2017 and has been rewritten with updated content in May 2024

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